PM Barak Briefs Cabinet
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Ehud Barak today (Sunday) 16.4.2000, briefed the cabinet on his meeting with President of the United States Bill Clinton. He noted the importance of the meeting due to the fact that any change in the peace process requires reaching an understanding with the United States so that there would not be any subsequent surprises in its positions and so that the United States would understand Israel’s Red Lines and know in advance what positions Israel could not agree to.
The Prime Minister added that it was decided at the meeting to accelerate the Palestinian track and that these negotiations are making progress in Washington, as well as in the contacts here in the region.
The Prime Minister announced that a ministerial steering committee comprising of the coalition heads would begin work to instruct the negotiating teams. he clarified that he expects that there will be American bridging proposals before the Americans are shown flexibility by both sides. Israel will examine the possibility of bringing forward part of the third redeployment, since, in his words, "We are interested in results and not empty words." The Prime Minister informed the ministers that the intention is to combine part of the third redeployment as part of the framework agreement, which is supposed to be completed within the next two months. The objective is to achieve an agreement that will continue the separation between Israel and the Palestinians and prepare good neighborly relations and cooperation, while taking into account mutual respect and interests.
The Prime Minister said that in all negotiations, Israel would insist that any future Palestinian entity would be disarmed, that an absolute majority of settlers would remain in settlement blocs under Israeli sovereignty and no Palestinian refugees would be permitted to enter the State of Israel. However, the Prime Minister emphasized that no serious person would imagine that any future entity would be a protectorate or autonomous area comprising of non-contiguous territories or would prevent free movement of people.
The Prime Minister reiterated that united Jerusalem would remain under Israeli sovereignty, and that Israel has no intention of annexing the Palestinian population residing therein. "We have always prayed toward Jerusalem and have never directed any prayer toward el-Azariyya and Abu Dis. The annexation of 50-70,000 Palestinians serves neither the security or any other national interest of Israel," he said.
|Clinton-Barak Meeting – April 11, 2000|